Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

For Superior Court Kagarise, Kunselman, Moulton and Stedman

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

For Superior Court Kagarise, Kunselman, Moulton and Stedman

Article excerpt

If litigants don't like the outcome of their cases at the Common Pleas level, Pennsylvania's Superior Court is likely to be their next stop. The 15-member court, the largest of the state's three appellate courts, hears appeals of criminal and most civil matters.

Because most cases never make it to the Supreme Court, it is especially important to staff Superior Court with competent jurists. On Nov. 7, voters will elect four judges, roughly a quarter of the court's complement. This is an opportunity to shape the court - to promote its competence and integrity - for many years to come.

Voters may have a difficult time making their selections, however, because many of the candidates conducted low-profile campaigns that involved little activity in Pittsburgh. Blair County Common Pleas Judge Wade Kagarise is a notable exception. In all, nine candidates are seeking the four seats.

The Post-Gazette endorses Judge Kagarise, 44; Beaver County Common Pleas Judge Deborah Kunselman, 50; Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman, 53; and Superior Court Judge Geoff Moulton, 59, a Montgomery County resident now serving on an interim basis.

Judge Kagarise served as an infantryman in the Army Reserve from 1990 to 1996. He has operated his own law practice and served as Blair County's deputy district attorney until his election to Common Pleas Court in 2013. As a judge, he leads the county's Mental Health Services Committee, which aims to provide mental health treatment and other services that defendants need to stay out of the justice system.

Judge Kagarise brings an inquisitive and courteous demeanor to the bench, and he said he is particularly proud of his work ethic. He is vice president and sergeant at arms for the local Rotary, received an award from the Blair County Bar Association in 2010 for his pro bono legal work and has been an adjunct instructor in the criminology and sociology programs at St. …

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